Ethiopia: International Companies Vie for Multimillion Birr Biometric Drivers’ Licences

By Dawit Endsehaw

Licences will be made and distributed from the capital, where the system will be centrally monitored

Two international firms, the Israeli company Supercom Ltd, and the Moroccan M2M Group, have made it in the preliminary technical evaluation to supply the multimillion Birr biometric drivers’ licence system to the Federal Transport Authority.

Ten international companies have placed offers to the Authority, seven of which were dissatisfied with the evaluation process.

Biometric identification methodology uses digital imaging technologies to gather, store and analyse fingerprint data. It was first used by Federal Bureau Investigation(FBI) back in late 90’s. In addition to fingerprinting, biometric licences employ iris and retinal scanning. Countries all over the world are increasingly using this technology particularly in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US.

The system must be compatible with the country’s transport management system, which is expected to be operational within three years, with improvements to the national licensing system. As part of confirmation, the successful bidder will be obliged to comply its biometric technology with the bigger transport management system. This particular system will accommodate drivers’ data, penalty records and data on road safety.

International bidders in the runway of financial evaluation, Supercom Ltd., an Israeli company, and M2M Group, a company based in Morocco, got past the eligibility test after a review of the same result that failed to get eight bidders past the technical stage of the competition.